Newsletter #37: January 2017

Postgraduate Diploma in Translation: An interview with a former student

Are you thinking about doing the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation this autumn? Or maybe you're still between two minds? Well, there’s plenty of information about the course to be found on, but sometimes it’s better to get a student’s perspective on a course.

Nuachtlitir Ghaelchultúir recently spoke to Siobhán McNamara, who undertook the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation in 2013/14, and she told us about her experience of the course and the advantages it held for her.

Tell us about your educational background.
I went to the Dominican College in Drumcondra in Dublin, and then went on to do a degree in European Studies in Trinity College. As part of that course, I studied Russian and I spent a year in Moscow. After that, I did a masters in Literary Translation (TCD), translating from Russian to English, and at the same time, I got a Certificate in Community Interpreting in DCU. After a few years working as a translator and in a library, I got a full-time job as a librarian in a secondary school. While working as a school librarian, I did a Masters in Education (a part-time course in Trinity College) to learn more about education and about learning languages.

Were you raised through Irish? What experience of Irish did you have before you started the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation?
I wasn’t raised through Irish, but my parents always had a very positive attitude towards the Irish language. I had excellent Irish teachers in secondary school, and I did a couple of summer courses in Coláiste Sheosaimh in Cill Chiaráin, where I perfected my spoken Irish. After the Leaving Cert, I didn’t study Irish at all, but I continued to speak Irish regularly with colleagues and friends.

Why did you decide to do the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation? How did you hear about the course?
I had wanted to do a course and get a qualification in Irish for a long time, but it was hard to find a course that I could do part-time in Dublin. When I heard that the Postgraduate Diploma was starting, it was perfect for me. I had heard that the standard of teaching in Gaelchultúr was very high and seeing as I had experience with translating, I knew I would have an interest in the course. I’d be adding to skills I already had and learning about how to write accurately in Irish at same time. On top of that, I’d be able to do the course and continue working full-time as well. I don’t remember how exactly I heard about the course. I’d say a friend told me about it.

What did you learn during the course?
I added significantly to my language, translation and editing skills. I now have a much better understanding of Irish grammar. We also learned a lot about online resources for Irish language speakers and that was very useful.

Did the course help you to progress in your career? Are you using the skills you learned now?
I’m still working as a librarian in a secondary school and I have a lot more confidence now if the students ask me questions about Irish. I also organise events for Seachtain na Gaeilge in the school. And, thanks to the skills I learned on the Postgraduate Diploma, I’ve begun working part-time as the Irish language editor of the magazine, Inis. It’s a magazine about books for children and I enjoy commissioning and editing reviews and feature articles.

Would you like to do further study in Irish?
Yes. I’d like to get the Séala Creidiúnaithe d’Aistritheoirí (official accreditation for translators) so that I can translate to Irish professionally.

Click on the image on the right to see the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation Studies brochure for 2017/18.